Henry David Thoreau 's Narrative Of The Life Of Fredrick Douglass

911 Words Feb 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
Abolitionist Fredrick Douglass was born in “the backcountry of Maryland’s Eastern Shore” in 1818 (Gates et al. 327). By having a slave mother, Douglass was automatically considered a slave (Gates et al. 327). Therefore, he faced many masters and mistresses; however, he eventually gained his freedom by escaping. Although Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave is not the first of its genre, it is the best-selling eighteenth-century fugitive slave narrative, surpassing classic white autobiographies as Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (Gates et al. 327). Nevertheless, the narrative is memorable because of “Douglass’s style of self-presentation, through which he dramatized the evolution of his sense of self via conflict with the mental as well as the physical bonds of slavery” (Gates et al. 328). The narrative demonstrates that Douglass and other slaves’ birth information are not available to them. In addition, when he was about seven years old, his mother dies. Believing that his father is a white man, Douglass explains that many slaveholders rape their female slaves because according to the law, if a child has a colored mother, he/she would be a slave. Therefore, the master benefits from raping due to the number of slaves increasing. From an early age, Douglass observes the fear of slaves towards their masters/mistresses of telling the truth about how they are treated. If the slaves tell the truth, they are punished by their masters…
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